Staying Healthy Now to Work Into Older Age

While you can take Social Security benefits at age 62 and get 75% of your maximum, waiting until you reach full retirement age (between age 66 and 67 depending on the year you were born) gets you much closer to the full amount. But the age at which Americans can collect the most dollars has inched up to 70.

The problem is that, in general, people today aren’t as healthy during their pre-retirement years as past generations were. Having one or more chronic health conditions, from diabetes to arthritis, can make it harder to keep working through your 60s and, for those who want or need to, beyond.

Though you might see retirement as being in the distant future, taking care of yourself today creates the foundation for a healthier and more productive old age. The American Academy of Family Physicians has seven key lifestyle habits to follow that can get you there.

Full story at US News

Stroke patients relearning how to walk with peculiar shoe

A therapeutic shoe engineered to improve stroke recovery is proving successful and expected to hit the market by the end of the year. Clinical trials have been completed on the U.S. patented and licensed iStride Device, formerly the Gait Enhancing Mobile Shoe (GEMS), with results just published in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation.

Stroke sufferers experience muscle weakness or partial paralysis on one side of the body, which greatly impacts how they walk, known as gait. Gait asymmetry is associated with poor balance, a major cause of degenerative issues that make individuals more susceptible to falls and injuries.

The iStride device is strapped over the shoe of the good leg and generates a backwards motion, exaggerating the existing step, making it harder to walk while wearing the shoe. The awkward movement strengthens the stroke-impacted leg, allowing gait to become more symmetrical once the shoe is removed. The impaired foot wears a matching shoe that remains stationary.

Full story at Science Daily

Once or twice weekly daytime nap linked to lower heart attack/stroke risk

A daytime nap taken once or twice a week may lower the risk of having a heart attack/stroke, finds research published online in the journal Heart. But no such association emerged for either greater frequency or duration of naps.

The impact of napping on heart health has been hotly contested. Many of the published studies on the topic have failed to consider napping frequency, or focused purely on cardiovascular disease deaths, or compared regular nappers with those not opting for a mini siesta, say the researchers.

In a bid to try and address these issues, they looked at the association between napping frequency and average nap duration and the risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease ‘events,’ such as heart attack, stroke, or heart failure, among 3462 randomly selected residents of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Full story at Science Daily

For patients with diabetes, ticagrelor reduced heart attacks, strokes

In late-breaking clinical trial results presented in a Hot Line Session today at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2019, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Greater Paris University Hospitals — AP-HP/Université de Paris presented the results from The Effect of Ticagrelor on Health Outcomes in Diabetes Mellitus Patients Intervention Study (THEMIS), a clinical trial sponsored by AstraZeneca that evaluated whether adding ticagrelor to aspirin improves outcomes for patients with stable coronary artery disease and diabetes mellitus but without a history of heart attack or stroke. Taking ticagrelor in addition to aspirin reduced the risk of a composite of cardiovascular death, heart attack, or stroke. Patients on this dual-antiplatelet therapy also experienced greater risk of major bleeding. In THEMIS-PCI, a study that specifically looked at THEMIS patients with a history of previous percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) that includes stenting, versus the overall THEMIS population, investigators found even more favorable results for patients taking ticagrelor plus aspirin. Results of THEMIS are published simultaneously in The New England Journal of Medicine and results from THEMIS-PCI are published simultaneously in The Lancet.

“With prolonged dual-antiplatelet therapy, we need to be thoughtful in considering which patients are most suited to taking the regimen — that is, those at high ischemic risk and low bleeding risk,” said THEMIS co-chair Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, executive director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at the Brigham and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Our findings show that the greatest benefit occurred in those patients with diabetes and stable coronary artery disease with a history of prior stenting for whom ticagrelor, when added to aspirin, reduced important cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks, strokes and amputations.”

Full story at Science Daily

Recognizing When Your Parents Need Help

Sometimes it’s obvious when older parents need outside help — like when they’re having difficulty managing numerous chronic illnesses or losing mobility and unable to maneuver well even at home. But mental problems may not be as easy to spot.

For instance, is Dad’s forgetfulness — his misplacing house keys or missing appointments — normal aging or a sign of something more serious, such as dementia?

It can be hard to judge the severity of problems if you live far away and speak infrequently. But even if you live close by, you might not realize the cumulative effects of gradual changes.

Full story at US News

LTC Properties Inks $38M Deal for Two Ignite Transitional Skilled Nursing Facilities

LTC Properties (NYSE: LTC) on Friday announced a $38 million pair of transactions that will see the real estate investment trust (REIT) strike up a new relationship with transitional-care operator Ignite Medical Resorts.

The two separate agreements consist of a $19.5 million deal to purchase a recently constructed 90-bed skilled nursing facility in the Kansas City market, and an $18.4 million land-and-development deal for a second 90-bed SNF set to open in the fall of 2020, LTC chief investment officer Clint Malin said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call.

The Niles, Ill.-based Ignite Medical Resorts, a chain with a focus on high-end transitional care properties, will serve as the operator for the two Missouri buildings, with Avenue Development handling the design and construction process for the new property.

Full story at Skilled Nursing News

Evaluating blood flow is key to early diagnosis and treatment for people with critical limb ischemia

Non-invasive techniques and devices for assessing blood flow and other diagnostic considerations for people with critical limb ischemia are addressed in a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association, published in the Association’s flagship journal Circulation.

The statement provides perspective on the strengths and limitations of current imaging techniques, including the ankle-brachial index, toe brachial index, toe systolic pressure, transcutaneous oximetry (TcPO2) and skin perfusion pressure (SPP). It also examines tools such as the laser Doppler, speckle imaging devices and others, as well as identifying opportunities for technology improvement and reducing disparities in detection and treatment.

The authors noted sex and ethnic differences in how critical limb ischemia is diagnosed, coexisting conditions and disparities in treatment. Women are more likely to experience emergency hospitalization, have differences in blood flow, and higher disability and death rates.

Full story at Science Daily

Medical mistrust impacts African American men’s preventive health, but racism also matters

Mistrust of health care providers, fueled by painful experiences with racism, makes African American men more likely to delay routine screenings and doctor’s appointments, according to a new study in the journal Behavioral Medicine by the Health Disparities Institute (HDI) at UConn Health, with potentially serious implications for their overall health.

“Medical mistrust is significantly contributing to delays in African American men utilizing the health care system,” says Dr. Wizdom Powell, the study’s lead author, who is HDI director and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UConn School of Medicine.

The new study reports that “medical mistrust” — defined as a suspicion or lack of trust in medical organizations — is associated with delays in African American men’s routine health visits, blood pressure, and cholesterol screenings. It also found that men who report experiencing frequent everyday racism had higher odds of delaying screenings and routine health care visits. Also, those who perceived racism in health care had more medical mistrust with significantly reduced rates of preventive health care utilization.

Full story at Science Daily

ACL Announces Initial Meetings of Caregiver Advisory Councils

The Administration for Community Living is pleased to announce the first meetings of the advisory councils established by the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act and the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (SGRG) Act.

Both meetings will be held on August 28 – 29 at the Holiday Inn—Washington Capitol, located at 550 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20024.  The meetings will be open to the public (registration required) and will be live streamed.

A complete list of council members, as well as schedules and registration instructions for participating in the meetings, can be found at ACL.gov/RAISE and ACL.gov/SGRG.

“The number of family caregivers, including grandparents who are raising grandchildren, is significant and growing. They are the backbone of our country’s caregiving system, and supporting them is critical,” said ACL Administrator Lance Robertson. “ACL is proud to lead the implementation of the RAISE Family Caregivers Act and the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act. We are excited to announce the membership of the two advisory councils, and we are looking forward to the inaugural meetings.”

Full story at ACL

11 Decorating Tips for Assisted Living

Decorating can ease the transition into assisted living.

Helping someone move into an assisted living facility can be an emotionally fraught experience. Collaborating with loved ones to decorate their new living quarters in a way that helps protect their physical safety and boost their emotional outlook can assist them in their transition, says Julia Bailey, a senior associate and interior design project manager with Denver-based OZ Architecture. “Moving into assisted living often can feel like a loss of independence and privacy for your loved one, but thoughtful interior design can go a long way toward improving happiness and well-being for the resident, as well as improving overall functionality of the new living space,” Bailey says.

Here are 11 assisted living decorating tips that can improve safety and boost the mood of your loved one.

Full story at US News